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  #41  
Old 05 August 2016, 05:13 AM
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Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
Based on the statistics from the 10 year cause of death study I linked to above, each encounter with a civilian carries a 1 in 32,028,469 or a 0.0000031% chance
I'm not going to check your statistics because I'm certain you misunderstood what I was saying. Those moments of risk aren't every encounter but only a few very specific ones. Many officers probably don't even come close to drawing their gun eight times a month much less eight times a day and even these aren't all extremely risky or stressful situations. So, no, I do not think your analysis is apt. It obviously depends of course on the type of duty but I would thing on average an officer on the street is in (what seems to be or is) a life-threatening situation less than once a month. (But I would certainly defer to the members of our ULMB who are actually have the experience to talk about this.)
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  #42  
Old 05 August 2016, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
Those moments of risk aren't every encounter but only a few very specific ones.
I think some of the problem is that the officer doesn't know which encounter is going to fall into which category.

Yes, almost all traffic stops, for instance, involve no hazard to the officer; or, at least, no hazard that doesn't involve the possibility of being hit by other traffic. But the officer walking up to the car, every single time, has somewhere in their mind the knowledge that once in a long time the person who's been stopped comes out of that car shooting.

If the training and the conversations among police center on that risk, then whatever the officer knows about statistics, the part of the head that freaks out and may therefore start shooting first is going to be active. But pretending in training that such a thing just plain can't happen at all is a lie.

Both the officer(s) and the person(s) stopped need to be aware that the other person is afraid of them. Both of them need to be aware that, however certain they are that they themselves mean no harm, and however small the percentage chances are of harm occuring to the other party, that fear is based on real information. Both of them, therefore, ought to try to behave in a fashion likely to defuse the situation, rather than to make it worse: because situations involving frightened humans are by their nature dangerous.

The police officer, however, a) chose to take that job (though admittedly sometimes there aren't lots of jobs to choose from) and b) does get training for it -- though whether good training or bad training may be a question; just the amount of training is not the only issue. Plus which, the nature of the job requires sometimes putting oneself in danger, and the purpose of the job is supposed to be to protect people. So it seems to me that the officer bears the greater part of the burden, and, in case of doubt, should not be shooting first.

I note that in very many cases, in fact, they don't: often even when confronted with an armed and agitated person threatening to shoot/stab/blow things up. I think that considerable emphasis on the cases in which everyone comes out alive -- both to try to figure out what works best, and as an emphasis in training -- would be a good idea.

Additionally: again, one's perception of the amount of hazard in a given situation is made up of a whole lot of things, many of which we're not consciously aware of. What we can learn to be consciously aware of -- and what should be in the training -- is that this factor exists. And it's possible to become consciously aware of many of one's specific unconscious reactions; and therefore to be able to think, in a given situation, of whether one's judgement is being affected by, for instance, the fact that one's dealing with a large young black male instead of a small old white woman; or by the fact that the person has an accent different from one's own; etc.
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  #43  
Old 05 August 2016, 04:26 PM
jimmy101_again jimmy101_again is offline
 
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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
... one's perception of the amount of hazard in a given situation is made up of a whole lot of things, many of which we're not consciously aware of. What we can learn to be consciously aware of -- and what should be in the training -- is that this factor exists.
People are notoriously bad at judging risk. They are particularly bad at judging relative risks. The problem is that they hear about a particular kind of incident regardless of where it happened. Other, much more common incidences, they don't hear about unless it occurs quite close to them. The result is a very badly formed understanding of the relative risk of various activities.

You are much more likely to be killed by a dog or a cow than by a shark or a bear. But if someone in the US is killed by a shark or a bear it is in every newspaper. If someone is killed by a cow or dog is might not even make it into the local newspaper. (An interesting chart )
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  #44  
Old 05 August 2016, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by ASL View Post
I have no idea. I only note that the perceived dangers of an occupation will understandably influence the decision-making process of perspective applicants.
True, but based on the number of recent articles about police recruitment shortfalls, militarization doesn't seem to be increasing applications by adding a perceived level of safety.

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Absolutely. But when the burden shifts to the police, that burden is born by a smaller force which may be burdened many times a day rather than once every lifetime/few years/months/days (depending on the demographic group and the type of encounter). At what point does it become unreasonable? Does anyone care? Or will we insist that a relatively small number of law enforcement officers bear every burden thrust upon it by a risk-averse society?
True, but a smaller group is also easier to treat for such effects and such treatment is (or certainly should be) part of the benefits provide to police by taxpayers. As opposed to the targets of such raids who may not be able to afford any such treatment.

And that is still assuming that it is a 1 to 1 trade off. Remember that over half of the smash-and-enter raids found no weapons at all and a large number did not expect to find any weapons. While there will always be an element of uncertainty and therefor stress, an standard knock search warrant where no one inside has any history of violence and no weapons are expected should not be a PTSD inducing event.

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I am not a police officer, but I doubt that any police force trains its officers to EVER go with option 3. Absent evidence to the contrary, I would assume that an officer who behaved in such a fashion was performing contrary to, rather than in accordance with, training.
If they aren't training them to do that, there are certainly doing a very poor job of it as option 3 is a commonly used option. And note that that was an example, the search warrant on a house version of option 3 is the flash-bang, smash in the door, go shouting in with weapons drawn, which is a trained option.

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Originally Posted by erwins View Post
That can't be what you are discussing, because that risk cannot be allocated to anyone else.
Sure it can be. The officer can approach every encounter at full alert, hand on their weapon (or even having it drawn). That would reduce the risk to the officer since they'd be quicker to respond to a threat. But it would increase the risk to the civilian since the officer would probably also be quicker to respond to innocent actions that look like a threat.

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Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
I'm not going to check your statistics because I'm certain you misunderstood what I was saying.
That was in response to ASL who was saying that the changes would increase the risk to an officer in an encounter. I wanted to provide some context on exactly how risky encounters have been over the past decade.
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  #45  
Old 05 August 2016, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
...
If they aren't training them to do that, there are certainly doing a very poor job of it as option 3 is a commonly used option.....
It is a commonly used option? Do you have statistics for that?
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  #46  
Old 05 August 2016, 05:36 PM
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With respect, GenYus, then you are talking about a risk of injury or death to anyone during a police/citizen encounter. You cannot allocate the risk of an officer dying to anyone other than the officer. But, you can allocate greater risk of injury or death to the citizen in a police/citizen encounter in order to allocate less risk of injury or death to the officer, or vice versa.

And what is being left out is what I mentioned earlier. Use of force guidelines are typically designed with the implicit purpose of allocating the greatest risk of injury or death to people who are unlawfully posing a danger to others. Of the risk that remains, police bear a very large share from their role as people who deal with the assaultive person/active shooter/robber/etc.

Much of the risk that remains after that is the risk that arises in the grey areas. This is the primary source of risk to innocent civilians from police use of force in police/citizen encounters. The risk of injury should be on "bad guys"* as much as possible, but there are situations where it may be ambiguous, or an officer can make a reasonable or unreasonable mistake about whether someone is a bad guy. If one were to attempt to allocate 100% of this risk to police, it would have the collateral effect of also altering the allocation of the very large portion of the risk that is split between bad guys and police.

If police have to be 100% sure that someone is a bad guy, with no room for even perfectly reasonable mistakes from their perspective, then the risk allocated to actual bad guys goes down a lot, and the risk allocated to police in encounters with actual bad guys--the greatest source of risk--goes up a lot. In addition, if police have to wait to act until it is 100% clear that someone is a bad guy, the risk to innocent civilians will go up a lot from bad guys who are not dealt with as quickly by police.

So you can't just look, in isolation, at police encounters with innocent civilians and say the police should bear the majority of the risk of injury. Of course that would be ideal, because innocent civilians should not get injured. Use of force guidelines and things like reasonable suspicion and probable cause and the warrant requirement all help in trying to distinguish bad guys from innocent civilians, but there will always be grey areas.

To be clear, I agree that no knock warrants should have to be justified, and if they are being overused, the practice should change. And there should be a conversation about bias in danger assessments by police and how that interacts with use of force. And maybe we do want police to have to be more sure that someone is a bad guy. But that evaluation needs to have the context that police already bear a big chunk of the non-bad-guy portion of the risk, because they are the other party in the encounter with the bad guys, trying to stop them. The innocent civilian risk from police use of force is probably a pretty small portion, and trying to change it can have large effects on the risks to both police and innocent civilians from bad guys.

* I'm using this as shorthand for someone who is unlawfully posing a danger to others, not saying it's OK to use force against people who are just generally bad guys.
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  #47  
Old 05 August 2016, 06:12 PM
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I think we've drifted very far off topic (for which I certainly share blame, especially for using the traffic stop example, possibly even the lion's share. ).

The original question was concerns over militarization of police. For me, that concern is highest with multi-officer planned events. We're getting more into discussions of single or dual officer spontaneous events. The equipment, tactics, and especially attitude of these planned events may certainly spill over into single or two officer unplanned encounters, but that's not my biggest concern regarding militarization.

Obviously, everyone is free to continue to discuss single or dual officer unplanned encounters. My concerns with those don't have much to do with militarization so I'm not sure they belong here.
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  #48  
Old 05 August 2016, 09:03 PM
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First of all I agree with everything erwins just said. I think it's much more clearly stated than what I have managed so far.

Part of the problem, thorny locust, is that to say police "in case of doubt, should not be shooting first" is unsustainable. Certainty and doubt hardly even come into it in many cases: there isn't enough time to be certain or to be doubtful, only to react (hopefully as trained: but how were they trained?).

Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
The original question was concerns over militarization of police. For me, that concern is highest with multi-officer planned events. We're getting more into discussions of single or dual officer spontaneous events. The equipment, tactics, and especially attitude of these planned events may certainly spill over into single or two officer unplanned encounters, but that's not my biggest concern regarding militarization.
I guess I see these issues as inherently linked: the apparent "militarization" of the police (armored vehicles punching holes in houses to expose armed/dangerous suspects, police snipers, body armor and shields/helmets to respond to protests, and yes, even hyper-sensitive patrol officers). I daresay that the polcie might argue these are all indicative of a MORE professional and highly trained police force, not a LESS professional/trained police force. For better or worse, much of that training focuses on how officers can protect themselves. There's the rub: striking a balance between the safety of the police vs. the general public vs. violent criminals.

In summary, my intent has been to counterbalance some of the "police need to do a better job and should assume more risk on behalf of the public" sentiment with a bit of "within reason." There are wider social issues at play (systemic racism that perpetuates a vicious cycle of poverty, violence, and interactions with the criminal justice system, for instance) and it's all too convenient to lay the blame and the burden for these issues on a small number of police who aren't even the whole criminal justice system, much less responsible for individual's socio-economic circumstances and disparities between groups.
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  #49  
Old 06 August 2016, 01:35 AM
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Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
I think we've drifted very far off topic (for which I certainly share blame, especially for using the traffic stop example, possibly even the lion's share. ).

The original question was concerns over militarization of police.
This certainly has drifted off what I thought was the topic. And I started this post. I thought I was going for what is different now from then. One of the differences is that then, civilians were more ready to return fire on a sniper even though the claim today is that more of us are armed. And also, one of the outcomes of that shooting was that police have adopted more military style tactics. But then so have some of the bad guys, i.e., the shooters in Dallas and Baton Rouge.
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  #50  
Old 06 August 2016, 01:43 AM
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Since this has nothing to do with my comment above, some of the differences of police response to active shooter in 1961 and today are:
1961 - Police rush in although not equipped to deal with a sniper armed with a rifle. Civilians assisted with rifles.

Columbine - Police contain the perimeter and wait for specially trained officers, i.e. SWAT, to go in.

Today, all police respond by rushing in. Armor and armament (weapons) have increased.
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  #51  
Old 06 August 2016, 01:48 AM
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Another difference between 1961 and now is that then, an African American family had to carefully plan a road trip so as to find place where rest rooms were available as well as restaurants, motels, etc. Today, not applicable or at least I hope so.

Then, a person of color feared being stopped by a white police officer and almost all police officers were white. Today a black male is feared by some police offices and hence black males have reason to fear being stopped by police regardless of the color of the officers skin.
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  #52  
Old 06 August 2016, 02:44 AM
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Originally Posted by RichardM View Post
Since this has nothing to do with my comment above, some of the differences of police response to active shooter in 1961 and today are:
1961 - Police rush in although not equipped to deal with a sniper armed with a rifle. Civilians assisted with rifles.

Columbine - Police contain the perimeter and wait for specially trained officers, i.e. SWAT, to go in.

Today, all police respond by rushing in. Armor and armament (weapons) have increased.
I heard a large reason for why they responded to Columbine the way they did, was the police were led to believe that it was a hostage situation, not a mass shooting. If it was a hostage situation, rushing in guns blazing would be an incredibly stupid thing to do; the gunmen might say, "Screw it," and start killing hostages. To say nothing that bullets don't come with a Detect Evil function so the police might accidentally kill the hostages for the gunmen.

Ever read Dave Cullen's book Columbine? It was really fascinating, talking about a lot of the stuff that led to the police making mistakes, which led to more people dying. A large reason was, like I said, they thought it was a hostage situation. But Columbine was a fairly well-off school, so a lot of students had cell phones. As soon as the shooting started, those students were using their cell phones like crazy to try to get help. This seems a no-brainer to us nowadays, but in 1999, cell phones were just starting to become ubiquitous and it wasn't like today where probably only the Amish don't have cell phones in this country.

Either way, you have all these panicked eyewitnesses calling for help and from there, they ran into another problem that often happens when it comes to crime: eyewitnesses are incredibly unreliable. Apparently when the shooters started their spree, they wore their black trenchcoats, but later took them off. So all the calls the police received, where some witnesses described the gunmen as wearing black trenchcoats and others described them as not wearing trenchcoats, led them to assume that there were four gunmen, not just two.

So the mistakes of Columbine seem almost understandable, when looked at in that light. Plus, given that Columbine involved multiple offenders moving through a closed-off area, whereas the Texas Sniper was one guy in a tower, it feels a little like an apples to oranges comparison.
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  #53  
Old 06 August 2016, 03:18 PM
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I probably should have just used a date for Columbine instead of the actual incident. The police training at that time for an active shooter, meaning you can hear shoots being fired, was to secure the perimeter and then move in slowly. Today the training, based on lessons learned from Columbine and other incidents, is for the first officer on the scene to rush in carefully. If the term careful can be applied to placing your self in harms way.
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  #54  
Old 06 August 2016, 10:47 PM
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Today a black male is feared by some police offices and hence black males have reason to fear being stopped by police regardless of the color of the officers skin.
I don't know that it is caused by fear. Frankly, I'm quite sure it's not something new at all and I think it's quite plausible that law enforcement has inherited several centuries of defense against slave and black insurrection. The elephant in the room of the second amendment was that an armed (white) population was needed to prevent slave revolts. This mindset has continued right up to the present day. We Americans (black, white, etc) all know, without even being taught or told — quite often without even being aware of it or why those feelings exist in the first place — that an armed black man means something completely different from an armed white man. Of course, the days when such feelings were just ordinary conversation topics is not so long ago. That famous photo of Malcolm X standing in the window with his M1 carbine shocked a nation that wanted its civil rights leaders unarmed and pacifist for a reason. That's also probably why certain groups supposedly supporting the second amendment turn a blind eye to legally armed blacks being disarmed or shot, etc. The fear is not necessarily the fear of facing one black man with a weapon but a deep-seated fear of an enemy that somehow avoided the history books. (Even though at various times in history insurrection actually happened, it was only the one that was led by a white man (John Brown) that was remembered. So there's a topic for Black History Month although I'm quite sure if they included such a lesson, they'd do all they could to make those ungrateful slaves and black people seem as bad as possible - just like they did to John Brown, who would be considered some kind of hero if he had been trying to save white people from slavery.)

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  #55  
Old 06 August 2016, 11:13 PM
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Some of the police officers involved in the police shooting of black men have been black themselves. So would this subconscious fear of armed black men extend to them also?
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  #56  
Old 06 August 2016, 11:32 PM
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Of course it could be. Blacks had even more reason to fear insurrection than whites. Quite often it meant that a significant number of innocent ones would die either in the violence or being lynched afterwards. They knew how such attacks - or indeed any attack against the white man - were very very very likely to end. People like Malcolm X and John Brown scared most blacks in America for a very 'good' reason. They were taught again and again — by lynchings, whippings, and being sold down river (etc etc) and, later, by losing their jobs or being jailed — that this was a fight they could not and would not win and they'd be much better off assisting in their own oppression.

However, there is a logical fallacy in your rebuttal as well. My argument is not to say every incident of unarmed or legally armed black people being killed by law enforcement is the result of this phenomenon. We're talking about overwhelming statistics, not a rule for every incident.

Last edited by ganzfeld; 06 August 2016 at 11:44 PM.
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  #57  
Old 07 August 2016, 12:04 AM
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I think you're reaching.
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  #58  
Old 07 August 2016, 12:13 AM
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Do you think so? Why? Imagine a black man puts on a police uniform in 1965. He knows which side heís on. Now I know probably police officers of all backgrounds would bristle at the suggestion that thatís the case today but we know these things donít die.

In any case, I donít know that a black police officer is more likely to kill an unarmed or legally armed, innocent black man. Just because some black police officers (or with other non-white backgrounds) have been involved doesn't mean it's as overwhelmingly more likely as it is with law enforcement personnel in general.

Why is Black Lives Matter so threatening? We should know why because we should have learned this history. We have not really learned black history in Black History Month because we have not learned of the armed struggle for freedom.
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  #59  
Old 07 August 2016, 12:41 AM
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I think it's at least two distinct, though related (if that's possible) phenomena:

1) Blacks in a position of power and influence does fly in the face of racism and notions of white supremacy.
2) Crime and poverty are linked. Crime and police presence are linked. Police presence and law enforcement are linked.

I think you're onto something with how factor 1 may relate to perceptions of black leaders and social movements by society, but I think it's a bit too.. Abstract? To explain police interactions that are, in my mind, very much probabilistic and kind of like the cancer-risks of radiation exposure.
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Old 07 August 2016, 12:56 AM
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I certainly don't think it's the only factor, perhaps not even the major factor.

However, I definitely think it is a major factor in why such incidents have not been challenged as much as they would have been and why the BLM movement has been so vilified. The only way any black civil right movements in the USA get any respect is if they first lay down their arms and, almost literally, surrender.
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